DUI Hearing Defense Lawyers Vancouver, WA
Fighting for clients accused of driving drunk in Washington and Oregon
The experienced Vancouver, WA DUI lawyers at Philbrook Law Office, PS, fight to obtain dismissals, acquittals, or plea reductions of your DUI charges – so that your license won’t be subject to suspension for the conviction. We also fight to show a driver’s license suspension shouldn’t apply because the police failed to follow proper procedures or for other reasons. We explain when you’re eligible for a restricted driver’s license and what the limitations on driving with a restricted license are.
Talk to us immediately if you have been charged with DUI and received a license suspension. We can represent you in front of the Department of Licensing – but you must act quickly.
Why was my WA license suspended?
There are two reasons why your driver’s license might be suspended in a drunk driving case. The first reason is that you were convicted of (or plead guilty to) a DUI offense. Your license will be suspended for 90 days to two full years depending on whether you have any prior offenses. The suspension starts 30 days after your arrest. If you refused to provide a breath test, on demand, the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) can also suspend your driver’s license for several years. Washington drivers give their implied consent to breath tests.
It’s essential that you immediately file an appeal of a Department of Licensing (DOL) suspension. Otherwise, you may lose your driving privileges, even if you are found not guilty of your DUI charge, or the DUI case is dismissed. The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) is an administrative agency which holds the authority to grant drivers licenses and take them away. It is distinct from the criminal courts.
Once your license is suspended by the DOL – an administrative or civil license suspension – you’ll need to show proof or financial responsibility insurance (SR-22). If your license is suspended due to a DUI, you will also need to install an expensive ignition interlock device (IDD) on your vehicle.
Drivers must understand that the DOL won’t negotiate a settlement. You need an experienced Vancouver, WA DUI lawyer who can fight the suspension by asserting the correct arguments and using the correct strategies. Our DOL hearings strategies have succeeded where others have failed.
I received a DOL notice of intent to suspend or revoke my license; now what?
The first step is critical. You must request a hearing within seven days of the notice of suspension. That’s not much time. An experienced DUI suspension lawyer will explain that the formal request also requires you to pay a hearing fee. Unless you prove indigency, the fee is about $375. According to the Washington Department of Motor Vehicles, you can request a hearing online or by filling out a Request for DUI Hearing (Form HRNG-525-001).
It may take a good while for the DOL to assign a hearing date and even more time for your case to be heard. It may take 30 days for the hearing, but it could take months before you have your case heard by a hearing officer.
The good news is that by filing the request for a hearing, with some limited exceptions, you keep your right to drive until the hearing date – and the written order suspending your driving rights. Before the hearing date, you should receive a copy of the police report – which is also normally available at the local police station.
If you fail to request a hearing within the seven days, you’ll have to surrender your license within 30 days of the arrest.
Strategies our attorneys use at DOL hearings
First, it’s important to understand that the DOL must prove its case. The burden of proof, however, is just a preponderance of the evidence – not beyond a reasonable doubt.
At the hearing, we will work to contest the following, depending on what actually happened:
- Whether the police officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were the driver and were:
- Under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or drug
- Had a BAC of .08 or more, .04 or more if you were diving a commercial truck, or .02 or more if you were under 21
- Whether you were advised of your rights and given proper warnings
- Whether you did refuse to submit to the breath test
- Whether the test showed a BAC over the legal limits for all drivers, for commercial drivers, and for drivers under 21
Speak with an experienced DUI hearings attorney today
You need to move fast. If you received a DOL suspension letter, you only have seven days to request a hearing. The hearing officer has broad discretion. You need a seasoned Vancouver, WA DUI defense lawyer on your side – one who understands the legal issues, the DOL, and even the predilections of the hearing officers. To schedule a consultation at one of our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA, please call Philbrook Law Office at 360-695-3309 or complete our contact form. We also serve the greater Portland area and Oregon State.